AS THE FLAMES ROSE (27', Portugal, 2012)

Screening: Sa, 14 Dec., Studio Cinema, 6:00pm

A conceptually innovative film of great emotional power, AS THE FLAMES ROSE draws an intriguing parallel between the burning of Lisbon and the ending of a love relationship. While the town is on fire, a man (played by the charismatic João Pedro Rodrigues) receives an unexpected phone call and flames from his past burst through his bedroom, suffocating his life. Playing with influences from expressionism and melodrama, in a surprising mix of fiction and documentary, the film creates an impressive relationship between human body and space, through an elaborate mise-en-scene and a remarkable use of chiaroscuro lighting and projected images. This way it succeeds, with just one character, in a single space, to create an entire inner world, the room walls, the objects, the skin becoming a landscape of powerful human emotions. (BIEFF 2013)



Cast: João Pedro Rodrigues

Screenplay: João Rui Guerra da Mata

Cinematography: Rui Poças

Art Direction: José Pedro Penha

Editing: Mariana Gaivão

Music: James Blake

Sound: Nuno Carvalho

Producer: João Figueiras

Production: Blackmaria

World Sales


Salette Ramalho





JOÃO RUI GUERRA DA MATA (b. 1966, Portugal) studied film at the Lisbon Film and Drama School and got his start in movies in 1995, working as an actor, screenwriter and assistant director for João Pedro Rodrigues. They co-directed a number of shorts, including China, China, which was selected in 2007 for the Director's Forthnight and received the Audience Award and Best Short Award at the Belfort Film Festival. In 2011 he co-directed, alongside Rodrigues, ALVORADA VERMELHA, which premiered at Locarno and won Best Portuguese Short Film Award at IndieLisboa. The two also collaborated on the feature THE LAST TIME I SAW MACAO, winner of a Special Mention at Locarno. AS THE FLAMES ROSE is his first solo work. 



Film and Video Untertitelung Prize - Locarno Film Festival 2012

IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival Portugal 2012

Curtas Vila do Conde Film Festival 2012

Torino Film Festival 2012

Janela Internacional de Cinema do Recife, Brazil 2012

Festival do Rio Brazil 2012

Leeds IFF UK 2012

NexT Film Festival Romania 2012


“Late 80s of the 20th century. Lisbon seems to burn like in 1755. Nothing will ever be as before, says Francisco, referring both to the Chiado district’s fire on the morning of August 25th, 1988, as to the political condition of the country. And similarly to the end of his relationship. (...) I was interested in shooting in the studio. A male body in a unique décor. A sort of closed concentration space, where the events of the outside world penetrate through radio and television. Sound and projected images that blend with the contradictory feelings of the character. A fiction film contaminated by documentary images.” (JOÃO RUI GUERRA DA MATA)



“João Rui Guerra da Mata anchors his story in an enclosed retro space that paradoxically can be sensed across the screen. A playful sample of mixing cinematic traditions (melodrama and expressionism) and dramatic ones, the film works its way up in a crescendo, introducing step by step all the regular elements of a break-up, so that the viewer is left with the brightly colored expressive image of this strong yet vulnerable man, surrounded by vinyl records and photos reminding him of a burnt out relationship. A moment of abeyance, in which time and space follow unusual physical laws and in which flames conjure the possibility of a new beginning.” (Andreea Mihalcea, BIEFF 2013)


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